We unite in our desire to serve and to expand our audience through innovative programming, broader venues, and increased educational opportunities while balancing artistic growth with financial soundness.
We share a heritage of passion for music.
We embrace our commitment to be a vigorous part of the cultural fabric of our community and to strive to reach regional and national audiences.
To inspire people through music and invigorate the concert experience.
Rooted in classical music, Northwest Sinfonietta seeks to serve diverse audiences, to strengthen its community connections through education and collaboration, and to broaden its influence in the artistic and cultural fabric of the region.
Founded in 1991 by harpsichordist Kathryn Habedank and conductor Christophe Chagnard, Northwest Sinfonietta is the premiere, professional chamber orchestra in the Puget Sound area. As an ensemble of 35 musicians, the Sinfonietta (meaning 'little symphony' in Italian) blends the intimacy of chamber music with the power of a full symphony orchestra—the result is a truly invigorating experience.
The Sinfonietta was honored to be the third American orchestra to tour and perform in Cuba since the 1959 revolution. In 2012 and 2013 the orchestra performed throughout the island nation, including a concert in Cienfuegos (Tacoma’s sister city). In 2015 the Sinfonietta became one of the few orchestras in the world to move to an Artistic Partner model of operations. This allows our musicians to take a larger role in the vision and programming of the season, working closely with multiple talented conductors and performers. The inaugural seasons of this model included Artistic Partners David Lockington, Eric Jacobsen, and Joseph Swensen. In 2017 the orchestra also added a series of unconducted performances led by members of the orchestra in new spaces throughout our region.
David Lockington was named Principal Artistic Partner in 2018, and we formalized a new partnership with renowned, local conductor and artist, Yaniv Attar. Come see why Northwest Sinfonietta has consistently received praise and awards for its excellence, including the 2015 Governor's Arts Award for excellence as an arts organization.
members of the orchestra
PrincipAL artistic partner
Maestro Lockington joined the Sinfonietta as a founding Artistic Partner in 2015, and was announced as the new Principal Artistic Partner in 2018. In this role, he will continue to lead concert programs in the coming seasons as well as offer greater leadership in overseeing the artistic growth and evolution of the orchestra.
With the stellar reception from audience members and performers alike, the Sinfonietta is glad to welcome him to this new role and continue the partnership in the seasons of music to come...
Maestro Attar joined the orchestra as a guest conductor in November 2017, in a program featuring Beethoven's Eroica symphony and a contemporary concerto for Cello and Narrator by Sharon Farber, telling the story of Holocaust survivor-turned-war hero Curt Lowens. He was named as the newest Artistic Partner in 2018
A native of Israel, Yaniv Attar is the 1st prize winner of the Duna Szimfonikus Conducting Competition Budapest, two-time recipient of the Georg Solti Foundation US Award, and the 2009 Bruno Walter…
Denise Dillenbeck is the concertmaster of Northwest Sinfonietta, and has played with us for six years. She is also concertmaster of the Yakima Symphony, York Symphony in Pennsylvania, Lake Chelan Bach Festival Orchestra, and the Siletz Bay Music Festival Orchestra.
Karen Sorenson has been a violinist with the Northwest Sinfonietta since the very first All-Mozart concert in 1990, and has since enjoyed countless musical adventures with her amazing NWS colleagues. “It is exciting to be part of a true classical chamber orchestra with such a high caliber of artistry and strong musical identity.”
Vanessa Moss enjoys traveling the northwest to work with ensembles including the Spokane Symphony, Boise Philharmonic, Yakima Symphony, and Vancouver Symphony. She is committed to sharing music with under-served students through El Sistema inspired programs including Portland's BRAVO Youth Orchestras and Yakima Music en Accion.
Mara Finkelstein has been Principal Cellist of Sinfonietta for 25 years. She is an avid teacher and performer in the area, and loves Sinfonietta because with its small size, every musician counts and makes a difference.
Kevin Morton began playing the NWS in 2001 after moving to Washington from California in that same year. In addition to playing and teaching clarinet, Kevin has a full time corporate job at the Issaquah home office of Costo Wholesale and is a self-taught chocolatier.
Noelle has held the position of 2nd Oboe/English Horn for 8 years with Northwest Sinfonietta. She is also a member of Symphony Tacoma and the Tacoma Opera Orchestra. Noelle teaches at the University of Puget Sound as co-instructor for the Woodwind Techniques Course and as the oboe lessons instructor for the Community Music Program.
Erin earned her masters degree in music from the Manhattan School of Music, and has been performing with Northwest Sinfonietta since 2012. She’s a busy business owner of a small lash salon in Pioneer Square and a mother of 3 musical children. She also performs regularly with the Federal Way Symphony.
Hsuan-Ju Wang joined Northwest Sinfonietta as Associate Concertmaster in 2013. Originally from Taiwan, she pursued her Masters degree in Mannes College and Doctoral degree in University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She has also played piano from age four.
Karin Choo became a member of Northwest Sinfonietta’s violin section in 2012. She is also now Executive Director of this fabulous organization! Karin is also Co-Concertmaster of Olympia Symphony, a member of Symphony Tacoma, and Concertmaster of Vashon Opera.
Heather Bentley is a performer/improviser and composer. She's Co-Artistic Director of the experimental chamber troupe Kin of the Moon, plays the 7 string electric violin with CHA Trio, is Concertmaster of Scrape: an original music string orchestra, and is also Viola Instructor at Cornish College of the Arts and a faculty member of the Lakeside School.
Holly joined the cello section of Northwest Sinfonietta in the fall of 1998. She is also the Principal Cellist of the Olympia Symphony Orchestra and has a large private teaching studio in Olympia.
Terri has been playing clarinet with Northwest Sinfonietta since 2010. She is mother of two, obsessed with pedaling a bike on mountain trails and pavement, and is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Couples and Family Therapy at Pacific Lutheran University.
Francine has been Principal Bassoon of Northwest Sinfonietta since its founding. She is an active performer and teacher in the Pacific Northwest.
Danielle LeMieux joined Northwest Sinfonietta in 2017 as Second Horn. She is also a member of Pacific Northwest Ballet and teaches and performs all over the Puget Sound Region.
Principal 2nd Violin
Mary Manning joined Northwest Sinfonietta in 1995 and was appointed Principal Second Violin in 1998. She enjoys freelancing in the opera, choral, orchestral, and baroque fields as well as tutoring her crop of private students at her home in Gig Harbor.
Brandon Vance has been playing violin with Northwest Sinfonietta for 9 seasons. He is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, and is has garnered national and international awards in Scottish fiddling. He currently pursues a busy career as a performer, violin instructor, composer, and recording artist.
Padua Canty recently returned to her northwest roots and promptly joined Northwest Sinfonietta in 2018. When not performing with NWS and various other regional orchestras, Padua spends the majority of her time teaching violin and viola to students of all ages beginning as young as 2 years old.
Gretchen Yanover is a locally-grown Seattle cellist who enjoys playing both acoustic and electric cello. She has been a member of Northwest Sinfonietta since 1998, and has 3 solo albums.
Darrin won the Principal Flute position with NWS at the age of twenty-four. “I travel from California to play with the most outstanding musicians in the Pacific Northwest. Always an absolute pleasure!”
John Ruze joined Sinfonietta as second bassoonist in 2001. Best thing about Sinfonietta for John? “I met my partner in Sinfonietta, fellow wind player and flutist Jeannie Hill, at the center of the Pantages stage during an all Mozart week with Richard Stolzman.’
Timpani / Percussion
Matt Drumm has been Timpanist and Principal Percussion for Northwest Sinfonietta since 2010, and plays regularly with Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera, Pacifica Northwest Ballet, and Symphony Tacoma.
Gwen has been a member of Northwest Sinfonietta since 2000. When not performing or teaching Gwen and her husband are off exploring the Pacific Northwest in their scamp trailer.
Emily joined Northwest Sinfonietta in 2018, and enjoys a rewarding career as a violinist, educator, and arts advocate. She studied at Indiana University and Rice University.
Jessica Jasper joined the viola section of Northwest Sinfonietta in 2013, a year after joining the viola section of the Spokane Symphony. Most recently, she joined the Yakima Symphony orchestra as Assistant Principal Viola. She finally moved to Spokane in 2019 after commuting there for years, and is very excited to have a more permanent homebase!
Todd Larsen joined Sinfonietta shortly after it’s formation, in 1992. Since then he—and we quote—“played in all the groups, did all the stuff, and people still can't get rid of him."
Jeannie Hill has been the second flutist of the Northwest Sinfonietta since 1992. She enjoys teaching students of all ages, and is the founder and director of the Northwest Flute Collegium.
Judson Scott is Northwest Sinfonietta’s Principal Trumpet. He is at home in a wide variety of styles ranging from playing lead in West Side Story to performing Bach’s Magnificat on a valveless natural trumpet, and he performs with numerous ensembles in the area.
Founding Artistic Partner
Evelyn Gottlieb has been a violinist for Northwest Sinfonietta since 2004. She is Assistant Concertmaster of Symphony Tacoma, and also plays in Tacoma Opera, Vashon Opera, Auburn Symphony, PNB Orchestra, and Tacoma City Ballet Orchestra.
Janis is a violinist and teacher living in North Tacoma. She is Concertmaster of Tacoma Opera, Principal 2nd Violin in Symphony Tacoma, and has played with the Sinfonietta for over twenty years.
Steve has played over 30 years in chamber orchestras from Philadelphia and Toronto to Portland, and Vancouver, BC. In addition to NWS and local free-lance activities, he is currently involved with Seattle new music group SCRAPE, and he has been performing early music for the past two seasons with Opera Lafayette of Washington, DC.
Anna Doak has been a bassist with Northwest Sinfonietta for 19 years. She performs as a substitute with Seattle Symphony and teaches extensively around the Puget Sound area.
Shannon has enjoyed performing with NW Sinfonietta since the fall of 1994, and also currently serves as the Operations Manager. Shannon is on the faculty at PLU, and also performs with Auburn Symphony, and as an extra with the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera, and PNB.
Robert Gale joined Sinfonietta as Second Trumpet in 2003. He began playing when his father brought home a cornet to try. “I thought the cornet was defective because I couldn’t make a sound at first, but he said he’d already paid for it, so I was going to learn it!”
Founding Artistic Partner
Staff and Board
Todd Giltner | President
Natalie Mayer | 1st Vice President
Amy Johnson | 2nd Vice President, Puyallup Representative
Kathryn Habedank | Secretary/Treasurer
Wren Nessle Buck | Past President
Merilyn Jacobson | Belinda Louie | Stephanie Miller
Heather Bentley | Orchestra Representative
Bruce Mann | Justin Morrill | James Sorensen | Mary Thomas | Patricia Wooster | James Wooster
Puyallup Advisory Committee
Magda Cockerline | Mary Holdeman | Gail Sawyer | Phil Yates | Amy Johnson | Todd Giltner
Karin Choo | Executive Director
Amy Marlow | Accountant
Shannon Spicciati | Operations Manager
Francine Peterson | Personnel Manager
Tames Alan | Stage Manager